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Vessel

Vessel

  • Place of origin:

    Algeria (made)

  • Date:

    before 1868 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Earthenware, decorated with kaolin, coloured oxides and slips and covered
    with resin

  • Museum number:

    31:28-1868

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case B1, shelf 4

The Kabyles are a Berber people who live in Northern Algeria. For more than 200 years Kabyle women have made earthenware objects from locally-dug clay. Kabyle pottery was traditionally made for domestic purposes such as preparing and serving food, storing water and providing light, and for ritual occasions such as births and weddings. Today its purpose is largely decorative and other materials such as plastic, metal and china are used to serve its original practical functions.

This teapot-shaped pouring vessel was purchased by the V&A in 1868 as part of a group of 51 Kabyle items. Its construction and design are typical. The clay was shaped by hand using the thumb and coiling methods. Before firing, the pot was decorated with kaolin, coloured oxides and slips (liquid clay), usually in blocks of red and white overlaid by geometric designs applied in black. Pots not intended for use in cooking, like this one, also had a resin applied to give a glazed surface. This gives a yellow colour and ensures that the pot is watertight.

Physical description

Teapot-shaped earthenware vessel decorated in blocks of red and white, the white overlaid by geometric designs applied in black. A resinous glaze makes the white (kaolin) appear yellowish.

Place of Origin

Algeria (made)

Date

before 1868 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Earthenware, decorated with kaolin, coloured oxides and slips and covered
with resin

Marks and inscriptions

Label on base: No.(?) 3 / S&A / Def?art.

Dimensions

Height: 16 cm, Width: 16 cm (maximum width), Diameter: 9.5 cm (of base)

Object history note

Accessions register entry: [Pasted in label] Pottery (a collection of fifty-one specimens). Various domestic objects belonging to the Kabyle Arabs. Painted earthenware. Modern North African. Bought, 30l
[Added by hand in pen] 6 at Burslem Museum
1 each at:- 18
Mansfield, Nottingham, Penzance, Sleaford, Stoke, Torquay, Putney, Rotherham, Selby, Shipley, Stourbridge, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Kendal, Lowestoft, Canterbury, Coventry, Glasgow.
13 at Edinburgh.
5 in Lockers, Rm. 133: 31/34, 28
8 in Crypt
1 in Case 10 B.G.M 31/15
[Added by hand in pen at top of page] 31/3, 13, 14, 17, 18, 20, 26, 32, 35, 39, 41, 43. Transferred permanently to the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh 21/2771 & 4613.

[Pasted in labels]
Water-pot, earthenware, with unfired decoration. ALGERIAN (made by the Kabyle Arabs); 19th century. 31/28-1868.
Vase, earthenware, with unfired decoration. ALGERIAN (made by the Kabyle Arabs); 19th century. 31/34-1868.

Descriptive line

Teapot-shaped vessel, earthenware, Algeria, Grande Kabyle, Djurdjura region (probably Aït Aïssi group), before 1868

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Vincentelli, Moira. Reflections on a Kabyle Pot: Algerian Women and the Decorative Tradition. Journal of Design History. 1989, vol.2, nos. 2 & 3. pp.123-128

Production Note

Grande Kabyle, Djurdjura region (probably Aït Aïssi group)

Materials

Earthenware

Categories

Africa; Ceramics

Collection

Middle East Section

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